Forget digging out crayons from the nooks and crannies of your car's interior or trying to clean Magic Marker off the seats. That's so last century. The Color Mix (Cars) iPhone app lets kids virtually paint vehicles while they're stuck in the backseat on long trips. And you can feel good about this electronic babysitter since it's educational as well as fun.
Teach Kids About Colors
The 99-cent app provides a palette with the three primary colors plus black and white. Kids can mix these in four trays on the left side of the screen to create hues across the spectrum. After mixing colors, your child can pick from a collection of supplied cartoon car images or choose connect-the-dot pages to paint. They also can select a photo from your iPhone's Camera Roll to trick out. Once your child has completed her masterpieces, you can save them in a gallery to stage an art slideshow.
In addition to being fun, Color Mix (Cars) teaches kids about colors combinations through exploration and discovery. According to the developers, even a preschooler can use this app. Here's how it works.
Ready, Set, Paint
When you launch the app, the palette with the primary color and paint trays appears. On the right side of the palette is a small black ink blot that you can tap for a tutorial. Drag a color from the palette into one of the paint trays on the left to start mixing. If you end up with an undesirable color, drag the sponge in the middle of the palette to clean out the circle and start over.
After you create four satisfactory colors, tap the green checkmark icon in the lower right corner and then choose a coloring page by tapping on the top right yellow car icon. The screen will display menu items that include Backgrounds, Coloring Pages, Connect the Dots, My Gallery and Photo Album. Once you've selected from these options, your colors appear on the left side of the screen. Tap on a color and the brush appears over that circle. Now use your finger to start coloring.
With a single tap, sections of the image will fill in with your chosen color. If you want to make changes, tap the circular icon on the bottom right to sequence backward through your last few taps. Or tap on the trash can icon to erase and start again.
To be able to draw freehand and not have colors filled by sections, you'll need to choose a connect-the-dots image. After completing a paint job, you can save the image in My Gallery. One word of advice: Tap the music note icon to mute the repetitive (and annoying) music that constantly plays.
Test a New Paint Job
While the app is best suited for the preschool set, my 10-year-old enjoyed mixing colors. It only took him about two minutes to tap his way through mastery of this simple app. For adults and teens, you can have fun with the app by adding images of your own ride to try wild new paint jobs. And it's a lot less expensive than experimenting with the real thing.